Thursday, December 30, 2010

2011 wishes

My wife forwarded me one of those e-mails people who work in offices get. She thougth it was actually good enough to pass on to me, (knowing how I hate mindless chain spam mail), and I thought it was good enough to post. To all those secret closet readers... have a GREAT 2011!

2011 Contract
After serious & cautious consideration... your contract of friendship has been renewed for the New Year 2011!
It was a very hard decision to make... So try not to screw it up!!!

My Wish for You in 2011
May peace break into your home and may thieves come to steal your debts.
May the pockets of your jeans become a magnet for $100 bills.
May love stick to your face like Vaseline and may laughter assault your lips!
May happiness slap you across the face and may your tears be that of joy
May the problems you had, forget your home address!
In simple words ............
May 2011 be the best year of your life!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Asper speaks!

Kevin Engstrom published the following letter from one Mr. D. Asper in the Winnipeg Sun.

Dear Fans, I guess David is writing to a small minority of people here
The transition regarding the stadium is now complete as in, "Go away David. The public backlash against this whole deal is making a mess of things for us politicians"  and as we close out 2010, I want to wish all of you a great holiday season and a happy new year. Ideally, 2011 will be the year that Lords Grey and Vanier return to Manitoba! Yup. The Winnipeg battle cry, "Next Year!"
Throughout the twists and turns of the past four years, one thing has remained constant — Manitoba needs a new stadium to ensure the long-term viability of our Blue Bombers. Seems to me,  the club was a team holding it's own at this time. That might all change in the future though. I am very glad that the project will continue to completion and provide many added benefits for the Bisons, University of Manitoba and the entire community.
This outcome is precisely what I envisioned because the project is and always was about doing something to get a new stadium built. Not with his own money, not with any sort of honour or openness, even selling his soul to support the NDP, those things seem unimportant when viewed against the stated goal. Build it, and damned the cost.
There is an old saying to the effect that “you cannot plough a field by turning it over in your mind”. But you can plow a field by talking smoothly to a neighbour, promise him you'll pay for your share of the plow, the horses, and the feed as well as the other guys time, get him to start plowing and then say, "Fooled you!"Someone had to actually start the process and it has been an honour to have been able to lead that charge.  Starting a process and digging a hole are not the same things.
I want to sincerely thank the thousands of fans who have given their support to our efforts. And what do you have for the tens of thousands who don't support your efforts, but will pay regardless? Even up to this day, people have continued to offer their personal encouragement and this has truly made the journey all the more worthwhile. When the project is finally completed, I know that all of us will share in the pride that it will bring to Manitoba. I don't see a lot of people from Dauphin feeling the giddiness David does... or Thompson, Churchill, Ashern...
I offer my sincere heartiest good wishes and encouragement to the team that will see the project through to completion. And the "best of luck" I hope. These guys had this dropped in their laps, and they know as much about building a stadium as you do David. Nothing. They should be commended for having the fortitude to stand up and be counted in responding to a need in this community. Or re worded, "Commended for making their desires known, starting a project under false pretenses, and having someone else finish, and pay for their mess.
Once and for all, it’s time to finally get it done! Go away David. Please... we can't afford your style of "getting it done"
David Asper RM

Ya, Ya, I know, "Bitch and complain". I've said before, I'm NOT anti-stadium. I'm BIG on invest money in our City. BUILD roads, bridges, invest in new infrastructure. I'm TIRED of seeing that the Louise and Redwood bridges are in better shape than Disralie. I'm tired of "piece meal" refurbishing of old buildings like the arena balcony we slapped in because "we" couldn't get our heads around building something world class. I'm the guy saying, "Put a roof on it". 
The "deal" stank from the opening coin toss. Sure, we hear about all the "personal wealth" of a certain "media mogul" family, but all I SEE is that family starting things that reach DEEP into my pocket, and the pockets of my children, and grand children.
Like any building project, we deserve that it be done RIGHT. Winnipeg does NOT have a track record for that.
Original plans for an inner city belt way had overpasses... we have lights everywhere.
Original plans for a subway were scrapped... we have diamond lanes so we can watch 6 people on a bus zoom by during rush hour.
Winnipeg Enterprises couldn't see their way to giving Shenkarow a fair deal at the old arena so they had an "interim operating agreement" that had people mad at the business man and not the stooges running the mess at WEC.
Instead of replacing both the antique bridges flanking the Disralie "freeway", we have a "new" secret plan we never saw before by "Plenary Roads" designed to keep traffic open during construction. 
We build a new airport terminal and blame the delays on "plumbing" so people don't find out the building sunk and the paid consultants screwed up the geo technical work.

Shall I go on?

We NEED accountability. Screw politically correct, screw covering everyones butt, and screw the deception that seems to lurk at every turn. I might have almost considered voting for someone like Just Judy if I thought she had any ability to run a city (or a hot dog stand), and I'll be working for the "official opposition" in the upcoming election (the first time ever) because I'm sick and tired of public policy being guided by special interest groups without consideration of how the masses are affected. 

Our un elected Premier makes decisions that will have far reaching implications for generations of Manitobans, and we have no way of stopping him for another year. (+/-) Bi pole III, east side sucks, "land that gives life", communities need an all weather road, and all.

So for all the criticism I offer up, here's how a simpleton thinks it should all work.

Stadium. Cost benefit analysis of maintenance and upgrades to a REAL cost of building new. That real cost can be obtained by having an RFP, with an accompanying fixed price for the proposal. Once it's decided which way to go, build it, and keep every one accountable. Sue engineers and consultants who screw up, forget things in their pricing, or "miss" specifications. Maybe even a "private/public partnership"? This has worked with bridges, and roads, why not a stadium. I imagine a contractor who will "own" the building and be responsible for major structural maintenance and repairs would ensure the best materials and engineering go in so as not to require too much work before the building is actually PAID OFF.

The mandarins at City Hall and the backroom deals at the Ledg are keeping Winnipeg a hick town that's hard on itself, not helping promote us as "One Great City".


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Hate Crime?

Driving down Ellice yesterday morning, I stared incredulously at posters put up at the Ellice Cafe overnight, clearly by do-no-gooders. I can say that, because I know (first hand), no one at the cafe would give permission to put up these "free speech" posters.
The Ellice is a not-for-profit restaurant run by New Life Ministries. The late Rev. Harry Lehotsky started the cafe with the intention of making a safe place, where everyone in the community was always welcome. A business man in a suit sitting a table over from a local in a T shirt. Everyone is welcome here.
The posters read, "Pro choice, because God raped Mary", and had "Youth Against Christ" and "Youth Against Celibacy" at the bottom, as well as a picture of a small building with "Women's Resource Center" as a banner.
I was unimpressed. Angry even. I called the office to let them know, and suggested that they photograph the posters, and report it to the Police as a hate crime. No other buildings were targeted, and while I know the burden of proof required to convict on a hate crime is over the top, I didn't think this should just be "washed away".
I went to the cafe for lunch with a friend and spoke with another friend there about the posters. She said, "Let it go".
Frankly, I didn't want to, and suggested that my Jewish friends probably wouldn't take to "Kristall Nacht was just a joke", or my Muslim friends consider, "Mohammad never read the Koran"  posters as something to "let go", nor should they.
I guess my anger came more from the assertion that Mary was raped than any other part of the poster. Pro-choice/pro-life debates are another matter. Maybe it's because it's Christmas.
Mary was first told about what was going to happen to her. "You will be with child..." To that Mary asked "How will this be, since I am a virgin?" Gabriel explained that the Holy Spirit would come upon her, and she responded, "I am the Lord's servant, may it be to me as you have said."
She wasn't tricked with a date rape drug, she wasn't promised anything, she wasn't raped.She willingly obeyed and participated in the event.
Dogma aside, I'd like to know who it was that plastered these posters on the building, and why they chose to target a group whose only purpose is to serve the community. I see no purpose in the posters aside from being inflammatory, and anti-Christian.
IMO, a hate crime.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

"Happy Holidays" ?

That seems to be the Christmas greeting at stores, staff trained to be PC. We had Hanukkah already... we didn't call it anything else did we? What else have we got happening? Kwanzaa? Not too many folks celebrating that, although store clerks could easily be trained to wish people who MAY celebrate that a "Happy Kwanzaa"... unless there is a fear of racial profiling.

It's CHRISTmas.

I'm OK with people NOT celebrating, or choosing to take what they want from it (a tree, a fat guy with a red suit, exchanging gifts) but why must we dumb it down to remove the word Christ from it?

"Winter concert", "festival of lights", and whatever other names we could summon aren't found on the calendar I own... yours? A Festival tree, a multicultural tree, a Hanukkah bush... STOP already.

I'm not offended by anyone elses beliefs. They shouldn't have to fear celebrating whatever they like, so why should the (second) most important date on the Christian Calendar be white washed of the name?

Ya, I know, "Christ wasn't even born that day". But it is when we celebrate it for various historical reasons. I know, the tree was assimilated into Christmas from the Romans pre Christ to celebrate the winter solstice.

You can have the tree and the ornaments, you can (if you need to) take it back, especially if your an ancient pagan and you want your holiday celebration returned to you, but leave Christmas alone. You can't have it...

... but you can. It's a weird religion. It's open to anyone who wants to join. Sure, there are tenets you are expected to adhere to, but there are no racial barriers, no need to be "born" in. No "levels" to attain before being told about the fundamentals. No secret handshake, or needing to be "sponsored in" by someone who'll vouch for you. No one cares where you've been or what you've done (at least not in places where they "get it"), you're welcome.

Maybe that's the problem. It's so easy. It's not sexy. It's not prestigious. It's simple, despite our best efforts to make it complicated.

Review. (Lets' just say you're inclined to believe the following for a sec, K?) A baby is born, homeless, under an oppressive regime occupying the land. He's the child of a carpenter... (blue collar, a skilled trades man, but not likely heavily laden with coin), and the first visitors are guys who were living in a field with livestock. Seems pretty humble. Seems pretty simple. Seems almost "sad".

We (in a royal sense) build magnificent cathedrals where we have nativity scenes carved out of wood and/or stone, stained glass windows retelling the story, fresco walls and ceilings showing a happy child with a glow about him, making the whole event pretty "special" visually. Go up a paragraph and see it for what it was. A shit filled animal stall, with a kid who was laid in a feed trough. Some cow dropping it's scat in the background... pigs squeeling... nice huh?

The "wise men" didn't come till later if you check the "real" story. The star arrived at the birth... they followed it, possibly for a few years. A LONG camel ride from the east. Back then, "the east" didn't mean Transcona. Take a look on a map, find Babylon... ahem, sorry... Baghdad and check out the route. The "Magi" were astronomers. These guys watched the planets and the stars. The alignment of the planets (likely) sent them looking. These guys REALLY were able to read the stars. ( as opposed to todays typical horoscope pages). We figure there were three guys because they brought three gifts. Fact is, there's no specific number of men mentioned as the "came to the house" and saw the baby (previously mentioned, now a toddler) with his mother.

We don't know if this was a rental, but clearly Joseph decided to stay in Bethlehem for a while after the census. Any way, the "wise men" leave after tricking an illegitimate "king" named Herod, who then murdered all the babies in the city under two years old, but not before Joseph awoke from a dream. He was instructed to pack his stuff, and leave to (of all places) Egypt. (Remember the story of Moses and the slavery... ?) He did. He packed all the stuff they could carry (which wasn't much) and went to Egypt, leaving his clients, his business, likely his tools...(again), behind. Good thing they had that gold they got as a gift. It was going to come in handy. Gold speaks Egyptian, even if Joseph didn't.

Anyway, it's about a baby. Christ. A character who has been divisive and "trouble" since he stayed at the temple at the age of about 12. I never said it was all about peace and love. Christianity has had it's issues... all as a result of men who didn't "get it".

It's not forced down anyone's throat, but I do wish you a Merry Christmas.

For to us a child has come, to us a son is given; and the government has been placed in his hands; and he has been named Wise Guide, Strong God, Father for ever, Prince of Peace.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ass-per syndrom

What is it about Winnipeg media types?
Let's begin with, I'm not against a new stadium, and I'm not against paying for it (primarily) as a tax payer.
Cloutier (almost) defended Assper today explaining to an e-mailer, (paraphrased), "He deserves to get his $4 million back, as I understand it from a good source, there's no profit for him, it's just reimbursing his money spent and the countless hours he's invested. He got it done! He got the new stadium started!"
What a sham. This guy's a "journalist"?  We were lied to and fed bovine scat for months, and this qualifies as "got it done"? We were told (By Asper paraphrased), "I'm doing this to give back, it's philinthropic. I know people won't understand that, but that's it."
Ya huh. Tell us Assper, how much have you "given"? Gifts "in kind"?
Lemme start a project! What do we want?  I'll dig a hole, and it's as good as done and everyone can thank me for my "philanthropy" after giving me back whatever I spent, AND cover my time. I'm a businessman too after all, why treat me differently?
Who starts a project without plans? How can you even "guess" at a project budget without a napkin drawing of what you want to build.
Gary Lawless in the FreeP had another great one, and was asked by readers in the comments area if he had been playing football without a helmet. "We need Asper back on the team"
No. Winnipeg no longer needs any Assper. Winnipeg has spent enough hard earned Winnipeg tax payer money on Assper projects. Go away. We don't need "visionaries" who are nothing more than dreamers with no money of their own to invest. Stick to what you know (whatever that is... but it ain't media, museum building, or stadium (or retail mall) development), and STOP spending MY money. WE did not elect Assper (either one), and  have no way to hold them to account, Katz clearly misled us all and kept his knowledge under warps until after his election victory, and Selinger... well I wouldn't buy anything off that guy. If you removed all the slime off him you'd be left with a wire similar to the skeleton of a "Gumby" toy.
When will someone in the mainstream media call this for what it is? A sham! we were fleeced, and now we're told it's a "done deal".
This is (possibly) the first time I hope Harvey Smith and Jenny Gerbasi et al block something.
"A great deal for Winnipeg". NOT. The Bombers are a team almost yearly hanging from a silken thread... suddenly they're re paying MILLIONS. Doubt it... so I guess we'll cover it, after Assper and Slimey are forgotten... and who'll remember that the tract of valuable land near Polo doesn't generate property or school taxes in 15 years?
This is not a good deal. We're taking "some"design, and "some tenders", and completing a shit hole someone else started digging. An RFP for a design/build should have been sent out for proposals instead of a few years of listening to Assper talk about where HE was going to build a stadium.
What happened to Ledohowski? Leo isn't looking at a huge empire of hotels in receivership, but I'm not sure he wants to get into something he knows NOTHING about, which is (I think) what the biggest problem here was. Assper thought he knew something about building stadiums because he's been in one and he's built some building, so he MUST be qualified.
No. Just because you've slept next to a 2x4, you're not a carpenter. Just because you helped your uncle build a dock at the lake doesn't mean you can renovate your kitchen, and just because you watched a crew stand your neighbour's garage in 3 days doesn't mean you can build your own new house.
Assper (pick one), should please STOP helping, and the media should offer up a scathing review of the project (s), the time lines, the budget changing (monthly), the fundraising goals (ongoing), and the self professed "philanthropy" that involves getting paid, jet setting around, and having all your expenses covered.
Methinks the "children" didn't ever have "real jobs", so now they need to "find work" by spending more money they didn't earn, and was never theirs.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Winnipeg Radio... sucks

I'm picky... maybe too picky. I would have (at one time) simply thought that my somewhat eclectic musical tastes were... too eclectic for radio, at least in it's commercial sense. I would have also thought (at one time) that my strong thoughts, and need for cerebral stimulation had grown since Peter Warren, to a point where traditional talk radio left me feeling "hungry", or perhaps "starved".
Thank goodness I found out that my thinking was flawed and wrong.
While driving through (of all places) Salt Lake City, I discovered a station called "The End". These guys played music that kept me listening as long as the signal held out as I headed to the Grand Canyon (with my daughter in the co-pilot seat and a large silver camper in tow for the trip of a lifetime (at that point in our lives), and had me looking for the signal again after passing through Donner Pass and the Great Salt Flats upon my return drive.
Alas, I had "The End" on my live streaming radio stations when I was back home, but unfortunately, about 6 months ago, they went country or something. I guess that maybe the Mormon crowd wanted to line dance. Whatever. They can have Billy Ray Virus and whatever other country music they want to listen to. The point is, I listened... I had no other station I wanted to tune to. I had found my music Valhalla.
Talk radio in Winnipeg... what a state. Aside from CJOB, is there one? We had CFRW back a long long time ago. I listened to Fast and Collison. I didn't agree with a lot of their ideas, or their delivery... I found it a little over the top, but I may not have fully realized at the time that it was likely a part of "the act". (maybe) That said, those two were ripe for a Fast Collision after setting their sights on (then) Mayor Glen Murray, and focus on his sexual orientation. I told a friend, "These guys are getting yanked soon". As predicted, the entire talk format was replaced with "easy listening", meaning it was no longer worthy of using up one of the pre set buttons on my radio.
Peter Warren. I had grown up listening to him, and recognized even as a young adult, that he had the respect of his guests, and he in turn respected them. He also let his own biases show, and didn't try to completely "remove" himself from his interviews. While Warren isn't the be-all and  end-all in talk radio or call in shows, he does have a place setting the bar, and I think he set it fairly high.
CJOB never did fill his spot. Sure, they fill the time slot, but not the spot. More and more we see national shows, with Adler filling the afternoons. I can't be bothered. I can't make it through the constant advertising, including the "Pizza hotline newsroom", his incessant talking about himself in a "I've got a bigger cerebral cortex" than anyone else on the planet, and the total waste of time his weekly rants with (in a reverb filled boxing announcer voice) "David the Menzoid Menzies".  Sorry... uninterested.
Cloutier tries, but I think he's on a short leash... or he's chosen to dumb his show down to the lowest common denominator (which is indicative of the callers and their uninformed opines).  The only breath of fresh air is "The Night Hawk", but unfortunately, I can't stay up that late. I almost feel for Geoff Currier, having to fill the night air waves. I think that out of all the CJOB radio "personalities", he's absolutely my choice for the top dog. He HAS an opinion, and if YOU call and are STUPID he'll say so. Atta boy Geoff.
The "Drive home show" stinks to high heaven. Stupid questions on the part of the host are not endearing to anyone under 75 who's not suffering from dementia. The guy filling in for Karen Black must have just graduated from High School. He can't read e-mails live, and has trouble with words. Today was "infamous", which he did twice, and the second time was pronounced in-famous. Buddy... the root word is infamy, and if you're a reporter, or radio announce, I can forgive you for being unable to pronounce the latest leader of Kazakastahn's name, but "infamous"? Were you educated here in Manitoba? (Honours student, right?)
Enter the non profit radio market.
Yes, I find myself listening to the oldies station somewhere on the 107 area of the FM band. At least I don't expect polished radio announcers, but I'm not quote old enough to appreciate too much of the play list. 92.9 at the RRCC Kick-FM station used to get some air play on my receivers, but they are also no longer tuned to. The clowns who are under 20, offering up advice on how to run a rapid transit system, including the suggestion of heating the roads to provide better traction for buses in the BRT lanes, and suggestions to make a network of black diamond lanes that can later be turned into BRT lanes is too inane for me to stomach. In a mental wrestling match, the displaced host Marty Gold, could have taken all three or four of these kids on with a beer in one hand, and the other arm tied behind his back and not spilled any of the beer.
Marty's show was kicking the ass off a number of commercial stations, and likely taking advertising $$$ from them too. For this very reason, on has to wonder about the wisdom of having commercial radio station representation on the board of the RRCC's radio station.
If you can't live up to expectations, lower the bar.
I'm getting to the point where satellite radio is looking like an option. And who suffers?
I don't subscribe to either paper, since I can get the basic content on line, and test the reporting on line at the same time. I skip from station to station like someone suffering from ADHD, and finally go to one of the CD's my wife left in the vehicle, so there is NO local advertising reaching me... until I get home, where I can watch HDTV, but not from Winnipeg. Apparently, we don't rate, so we watch the other feeds where people who do rate live.
Advertising dollars are being tossed around, but I'm not sure where it's landing.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

North End on Edge

Such was the title of the FreeP article. They quoted a gentleman named Rodney Hunt and listed him as the Chief of "Saskatchewan River First Nation Inc.", who lives on Boyd Ave.
I was curious. Who is he, why does he live in Winnipeg, and why is he advocating an aboriginal Police Unit for the North End and gathering names for a petition?
Firstly, I have no qualms about ANY Winnipeg citizen asking for changes to how Winnipeg Police serve the community as a whole. (Check out three posts ago... I did) I was curious though... who polices "Saskatchewan River First Nation Inc."? The RCMP? DO they have their own Police service like the Dakota-Ojibway Police Force? Where is "Saskatchewan River First Nation Inc." anyway, and why does their Chief live in Winnipeg?
I Googled "Saskatchewan River First Nation Inc." before posting a comment in the Freep "comments" area. (RM1). My post was obviously NOT found to be acceptable to the moderators. WHy not? My comments were not against Mr Hunt, First Nations people, or anything else I'd have thought were offensive to anyone. I was simply asking questions. Could it be the Freep didn't know who they were interviewing? It seems they've gone to Mr. Hunt a few times now. Was it because the only hits on Google were... the Freep itself? It seems to me that there is no "first nation community" called "Saskatchewan River First Nation Inc." I couldn't find it. So I kept looking.
No real info from a Google search of the "band", so I tried "Rodney Hunt". Still not much... except the Freep's articles again.
Then I got a hit. It looks like Mr. Hunt is a non-status aboriginal. I found that by "stumbling" upon it. Now don't think I'm suggesting Mr Hunt is "hiding" anything, it's just that this whole thing still made little sense to me. I made "assumptions" about Mr. Hunt, being Chief of a band I had never heard of, and started asking myself questions. I found the answer on a blog.  From the site, the following information was posted there,

We are the first Non-Status Indian Band in Canada, Saskatchewan River first Nation Band Inc. We incorporated on December 1, 1998. We are located in Manitoba Canada. We are a Legal Indian Band in Canada.

There's also a Facebook page,  which read slightly differently,

We are Non-Status Indians, we are the first to incorporate in Canada. Our Band is the Saskatchewan River First Nation Band Inc. We have entered the Self-Government process as a legal Indian Band.

and a Google web site (not sure why that didn't come up in the Google searches),  where almost everything on it has appeared after October. (using the same picture, and the same text. All of the info appears to be in "free" areas, and seems to be authored by the same person... looking to get his name out.
The sites appear almost identical, all with the same message. "So what?", you might ask.

Well, why is the Freep giving someone who appears to me (after 15 minutes of digging) to NOT be a representativeof any "group" legitimacy? How many "band members" does Mr. Hunt lead? Sure the "reader" could be blamed for not doing their own digging, and assuming that the "band" he is "chief" of is a First Nation community of some record. They (or he) seems like he's not.(in the traditional sense I've come to understand the words). And maybe this is what Mr Hunt is trying to fight... the traditional sense... but that doesn't give him any legitimacy to be a "community representative" in and of itself. Is this the only guy the FreeP could find? They whould have received more empathy from me had they interviewed some Mom on Boyd with three young kids than their new "go to guy".

There is one follower on the blog, (not that that matters), no Facebook friends, few links other than to his own "free press"... and so now I'm still left guessing and filling in the blanks.

I started asking some questions based on the early assumptions. The new questions are, Can I join the band? Can I start a band? Can I play in the band? Can I conduct the band?

If "Headman/Chief" Rodney Hunt is the "president" of a "corporation" he started, then the Freep has (I think) egg on it's face (again). If I'm way off on a bunch of these things, I'm very open to being educated, but please, do it without attacking me and calling me names. My "real" First Nation friends might not like it.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Wiki leaks

Two words. I didn't mis spell it. It's leaking. Duct tape? Here's another.

The act or practice of spying or of using spies to obtain secret information, as about another government or a business competitor
I (sort of) recall some of the espionage during the cold war. Spy swaps on bridges and so on. Foreign countries held some pretty serious consequences for spies. Along with the above definition, there is also another word.
1. Violation of allegiance toward one's country or sovereign, especially the betrayal of one's country by waging war against it or by consciously and purposely acting to aid its enemies.
2. A betrayal of trust or confidence.
In Canada, punishment for treason is as follows,
"(2) Every one commits treason who, in Canada,
          (b) without lawful authority, communicates or makes available to an agent of a state other than Canada, military or scientific information or any sketch, plan, model, article, note or document of a military or scientific character that he knows or ought to know may be used by that state for a purpose prejudicial to the safety or defence of Canada;

(e) conspires with any person to do anything mentioned in paragraph (b) or forms an intention to do anything mentioned in paragraph (b) and manifests that intention by an overt act."
It is also illegal for a Canadian citizen to do any of the above outside Canada.
The penalty for high treason is life imprisonment. The penalty for treason is imprisonment up to a maximum of life, or up to 14 years for conduct under subsection (2)(b) or (e) in peacetime"

My point? Assange isn't Canadian... he's not guilty of treason, BUT clearly what he's done (and has been doing for some time) is against almost EVERY countries laws. Many of the things he's published are NOT exposing gross misconduct and crimes, they are remarks that were intended to be confidential, much like the disclaimer many of us have on our e-mails or faxes. We have a line at the bottom that might read something like,

"Confidentiality Warning: This e-mail contains information intended only for the use of the individual or entity named above. If the reader of this e-mail is not the intended recipient or the employee or agent responsible for delivering it to the intended recipient, any dissemination, publication or copying of this e-mail is strictly prohibited. The sender does not accept any responsibility for any loss, disruption or damage to your data or computer system that may occur while using data contained in, or transmitted with, this e-mail. If you have received this e-mail in error, please immediately notify us by return e-mail. Thank you."

I think that if someone who wasn't the intended recipient of any correspondence, and that information is given to a third party for no reason other than to disseminate the information publicly without the senders and the recipients knowledge AND permission of at least one of them (or both depending on the circumstances), it's a crime.

If someone hacks an e-mail account, even Sarah Palin's hotmail account, it wrong, plain and simple.

There are times, when courage and civil disobedience is required. Those times are in extreme circumstances. These are not extreme circumstances. Assange found a way to make money by republishing things people feed him.He claims there is now a "smear campaign" against him by virtue of Sweden wanting him extradited for some charges related to some alleged crimes. As if. Does he figure that's the BEST they could do? C'mon buddy. You've clearly pissed off a lot of people.

Sure, I read GH's blog finding the glib suggestion that he should get "taken out by a drone" as unbelievable, and he's right. The comments were clearly not in good taste, but they weren't serious either, making Vic Towes' response absolutely correct. They were not criminal comments.

Assange however seems (in my mind) to have either committed, or assisted in espionage. The penalty for that ranges from prison, to a capitol crime.

Free speech is a right almost everywhere there is a "free country". (article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)That is protected. Assange may SAY whatever HE wants to say. He can PRINT whatever HE wants to write. What he can't do is reprint what someone else has written, especially if that's private correspondence.

Assange, and (by extension)  Wikileaks should be both shut up, and given some time to consider the stolen information he reprinted. After that, he can go the Sweden to face his charges... and hide behind their journalism laws.

This is NOT a Free Speech issue. Our society often limits free speech and other freedoms to fit with our mores and norms (and laws). We take away children from parents who teach their children to hate Jews and Blacks and ink swastikas on their arms. We send Holocaust deniers back to Germany to face criminal charges there (good-bye Ernst Zundel, we miss your stupid hard hat... how is prison in the Fatherland?), and we prosecute people guilty of espionage, either against our country, or industrial espionage. It's just plain wrong.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Letter to the Chief

So I got something in my mailbox that probably shouldn't have riled me up... but it did. I guess it did because I'm so sick and tired of the City cherry picking the By-Laws it chooses to enforce. If it's something that'll make them money, they're after you. If it's something that will require effort for them, you can wait.
The note was in regard to my required alarm permit. It was sent to a house I used to live at, and the resident there forwarded it to me. I used to have a "monitored alarm". It rang a central station somewhere, and they sent out a car to look to see if there were obvious signs of a break in. The security guard would then call Police. In exchange for this, I had to get a permit from the Winnipeg Police Service.

The WPS stopped responding to alarms some time ago. Makes sense, since we've all been a little red faced about setting off our alarm and had to explain it to the control center. (I never did have one that said "STOP! This is Alarm Force! Police are being notified!" since I didn't think it would matter that much, and the bad guys wouldn't run away like they do in the commercial).

I'm going to guess that being Police Chief isn't' an easy job. I can't say I've liked many of our past Chiefs, and while this one seemed OK at the start, I can't say I'm too impressed with him either. Sure, I know, "Yip away, but who will you call when you really need them?" Yes. You're right. Today they are not appreciated, yet when in need they are there and we expect them to be here to help us. I get that, but the same is true of any "service" provider. My note to the Chief is included below in red.

Dear Chief McCaskill,

Thank you for your recent letter to me regarding an alarm I had at a previous address. The pertinent information is enclosed so that you can update your records. This property was sold almost four years ago, and since I live down the street, (after moving three more times since then), I assume that the current owner delivered this to my mailbox.
I’d like to take this time to provide you with a little feedback, since it was you who contacted me.
Winnipegger’s have alarms for a reason. They have to protect their things from a growing number of people who have no respect for personal property. It would appear that you’ve lost control of the City insofar as personal property and personal safety goes. Winnipegger’s who choose to have alarms are asked to pay “permit fee” for which you quote a by-law number in your letter. Permit holders probably expect more from the WPS than a “drive by” by a cruiser car a full day after the alarm.
We in the West End have a whole host of by-laws we’d love to see enforced, but I suppose that since this one is closer to your heart, it receives special attention from your force.  Since the revenue appears to go directly to the WPS, I can see why you’ve taken the time to “remind” people. It makes you money.
Is illegal dumping in back lanes and auto bins enforceable under the Highway Traffic Act, (since a vehicle is used to transport the garbage being dumped illegally)? Any chance we could get you the license plate numbers and vehicle descriptions so you could do something to thwart this behaviour? The City by-law officers apparently can’t access the MPI data base, making them semi-useless in this matter. Of course, there’s no money in this for you.
As well, I noticed you’ve taken to enforcing traffic laws a little more diligently, (I see the quota filling officers at the Foody Goody parking lot waiting to get the “no left turn” violators turning east on Ellice off Empress), and while I think that’s great, I also think that’s probably something you could get the officers to do after they’ve cleared up the backlog of other things you have outstanding. It’s a bit like painting your house while the roof is leaking. The priorities seem a bit out of sync with what we’d like to see really going on in “the ‘hood”. That said there does appear to be money in that enforcement, at least for some branch of the government. If traffic is something you’d like to concentrate on, might I suggest doing something about the rash of errant bicyclists passing vehicles on the right in November. Not only are they a hazard to themselves and others, it’s against the law. So is riding a bike the wrong way up a one-way, riding through red lights and stop signs… I suppose there’s no need to go on. It would appear to the casual observer that the officers I’ve seen ignoring these actions have not been told to enforce those things. After all, you can’t get blood from a stone, or money from someone who doesn’t have a license you can threaten them with loosing.
Further to “the ‘hood”, we still have the (used) condoms tossed in our yard from the working girls and their Johns who do business on the corner, (and often close the deal in our lane, or on the street), and we still enjoy the drunks publicly urinating against our home or on the boulevard.  Any chance you could follow up with them?Again, I know there’s no money in that, but I guess there is in those red light cameras your WPS stats show are a “safety tool” but MPI’s show the contrary. I guess we need to follow the money again. By the way, what percentage of the revenue is from speeding, and how much is from red light violations? And the gun registry you support. Another money grab with no results to make us any safer The criminals are resorting to ever more gunplay in spite of this Liberal boondoggle the NDP has helped prop up with the help of many of the police chiefs.
Thank you for the new logo, slogan, and the promise of a fancy new helicopter, but I think a few extra cars and a couple of beat cops might be in order, that is as long as they don’t need them in the North End, where you’ve lost even the semblance of control.



I'm not sure if I'm being harsh or rude, just that we're in an era where we are "Building Relationships", and frankly I'm not so sure I like where the WPS is going. Feel safe? Have a bat beside your bed? Just inside the door? Been a victim of a B&E? Had a bike stolen (or 2)? A car stolen?

This isn't about not appreciating the Officers or their work. It's about the decisions that affect HOW the Officers do their work. The knee jerk reactions of a "presence" in the North End. Hey. 
HEY! I worked in the North End 5 years ago. Every day, Pritchard, Magnus, Selkirk. Police tape pretty much every Monday morning. Did I really need to type a HEY! to get your attention? Clearly someone had to shoot 3 people to get the Chief's. These aren't new problems... why did it take SOOOOOO long for a reaction?

I'm not a Police Man. I'm not a chief, but I know that if I don't foresee a problem, and I don't find solutions, my clients send me packing . It's my job, and having a press conference asking (again) for the public's help because they have no leads is like me asking my client how to do my job. It doesn't instill a lot of confidence.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Black Friday shopping

A friend and I went south to Grand Forks to do some "shopping" I put that in quotes, because it likely sees a bit more cash leave our country, province, and city than most peoples little jaunts south do... this is semi-pro shopping.
Cloutier had a show on CJOB about us going south and why we do it, and there were a few callers that had it sort of right about the question, "Why?"
Because we can is the first answer. We can drive for 90 minutes and go to a place where our dollar (today) goes much farther than it does at home. I'll admit, we'd both rather shop at home. We'd both rather keep our money in our City, Province, Country... but we can't. We can't, because to do so is almost foolish for us.
We often shop at a place that sells building materials that uses the "Run to" slogan here in the City. We both get a "discount" because we frequent the place more than the casual buyer, and spend a lot more there than the normal Joe... but we noticed a really big difference in a lot of things. Most of the prices are from the "Save big Money at..." store.
  • Pricing  Insulation, made by Guardian (a Canadian company) in Canada is $5 a bundle after a rebate. Granted the rebate is in the form of a store credit... but hey, I'll spend it. At the "Run to" store in the Peg, R20 23" is .54 per square foot. R25  23" in the US is .22 cents a square foot. Somebody help me. This looks like "more for less". The list goes on... like "free paint". The available rebate is equal to the cost. It's almost stupid from a business stand point..... or is it? It seems to be working, at least for them. Mansfield toilet in a box $50 ($150 here)
  • Selection  We simply don't have the kind of products available to us that they do. My friend bought Delta faucets that he'd likely have to special order, at less than local prices at the big white and blue store where they want to, "build something together" and sponsor the recent NASCAR 5 time winner. We've purchased a lot of things there, simply because of availability. They have EVERYTHING in stock, they know where it is and they're happy to get it for you.
  • Customer Service  These people almost fall over themselves to sell you product. Sure, they expected a busy day and had staff on hand for it, but we've been there numerous times before and it's always the same. Excellent. I once faxed down window measurements for quotes to 3 chain stores there. Within 24 hours, all 3 had provided the info, and one of them called back a few weeks later to tell me the product I was asking about was going on sale and gave me the new discounted price. This is a far cry from the "you're a real pain in the ass" treatment I get here. Not only do they get back to you, and follow up the sales calls, they help you find product (they even know what you're talking about, or find someone who does) and say very strange things like, "Could I get a cart for you sir". Last time I was at the "run to" store they told me there might be some in the parking lot.
  • Duty  There is none. All you do is pay your PST and GST at the border, and I pay those here regardless AND I can get my ND sales tax back. (easily)
So let's review. We go there, buy about $7000 US worth of building supplies that would have cost us OVER $12,000 here. Ummm.... I don't ever earn $5,000 in a day.

I can't be concerned about the Canadian jobs, the "universal health care" my taxes pay for (primarily because if I was ever diagnosed with anything serious I'd flee our system before you could say "biopsy"), or the altruistic, "support our local economy". As Canadians, we're seen as fools by the people who set prices on products. They hide behind "distribution costs" and claim it's because of our population base being smaller, but I think that's all just bullshit. The manufacturers set the prices, (look into drywall costs for example) and they know they have us over a barrel. Most people won't bother making the effort to save the money because of the time it takes. They don't have a truck and a large trailer, they can't justify a day off work, and they can't save as much as we do in a single shopping day, so they are "captive" to they pricing here.

Menard's is coming folks. What is to be seen is if they will be pricing things just below the status quo here, or extending the pricing they currently offer their American customers. Remember when the other "super stores" came, prices were low, they ran the small companies out of business, cut their staff and service, and left 2 local lumber yards of any decent selection and service in the city.

From what I've heard there, and read just recently, they know how to do it. Sell us their stuff and deliver it here to a warehouse where you pick it up. They already deliver here, you just have to meet them at the border to pay the taxes. This will just make it easier. and

We get screwed over... a lot. Canadian snowmobiles made by Bombardier, (a company that has seen A LOT of tax money help keep it afloat) sells sleds to Canadians for more than Americans. Cars and trucks from the big 3, (all of them really), boats, campers... pretty much everything. Sure, the biggest crooks are our governments (pick a level) who still have an impact on pricing as a result of our terrible tax system against businesses (Would you like a regressive payroll tax with that?), but in the end, we're responsible for that too. We don't have to keep sending the lefties to Ottawa or Broadway.

Some economist can offer up answers as to "why", but I don't really care. I'll keep taking my business elsewhere until they can figure out I don't want it over the barrel, or in any other submissive position.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Building Permits... again

SO back on Oct 18 I posted a couple of rants about PP&D and the permit process, inspections, and so on. It coincided with something I do every once in a while... apply for a permit.(I went on the 20th)
Really simple, EVERY page of my application had an engineers seal. It was a simple basement replacement on a fairly small home. Simple stuff when you've cut your teeth on things like this.
Lemme see now... where's my calendar... ah yes, on the fridge. A month.
October 18th, snow and frost are coming, and no one cares. Really, that's the crux of the whole issue. They simply do not care if your project starts or not, if you get a permit or not, and in the end, why do we bother? It's not like a permit offers up any legitimacy. I'm WAY further ahead retaining the engineer to carry out inspections than the guy who used to do plumbing who is now an "inspector" after taking a few classes on structural matters, or the electrician who is now inspecting my journeyman plumbers work.
I started work on the 27th. We did a little excavating. Hydro missed their appointment to take a look at the gas meter and remove their equipment. Ahh well... a week notice to "call before you dig" is better than a month plus for a permit, right? We slid in the 68' beams on the 29th and had the house lifted about nine feet off the existing floor by the end of the day on the 1st. On the 3rd and 4th we removed the existing foundation, and excavated the new hole to accommodate the foundation. On the 8th we poured the footings for the new walls, and on the 9th the walls were set up and poured. By the 10th the walls were stripped, and the house has sat waiting for the concrete to cure before we set it back down after this weekend.
All without a permit, or any one noticing we were even there.
Why bother? Why do this silly ritual of applying for a permit, waiting, calling the permit tracking phone number no one ever answers (although they do call back to make excuses for how busy they are, and apologize for it being held up, but they're very busy).
I can do the entire project in less time than they can push papers around and review my drawings ALL of which are sealed by engineers.
All that so I can pay them a fee, have them add value to the clients home so her taxes will go up, and sit around and ask for permission to improve a home.
I really don't like their game anymore. It's excuse after excuse.
A few years ago they had some lame arsed exercise where they got together with the home builders and had a "checklist" of items they were going to improve. They had a glowing "report card" after 6 months. From WHO? I never filled out a survey. I haven't been happy for a very very long time with this process, and frankly, I'm thinking the City simply cannot manage it's own permit process.
If you can't issue a permit in a timely fashion, I don't think I need to apply. You may be "the authority having jurisdiction", but if you can't even manage approving a simple project in under a month, your authority is pretty worthless.
The response from the "permit tracking" rep was, "Maybe in a week or so".

Ya... I'll wait. Maybe I'll start planning my spring garden now... you never know how long it might take to figure it out.

Mr Mayor... you listening?  Time for some new blood from OUTSIDE your organization.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Rememberance Day

This will be a two part entry. The first part will cover the traditional Remembrance Day ideas, the second half will be a little different.

I'm young, (or so I tell myself despite the sore joints, bad back, and a hip that seems to give me grief). I've managed to be insulated from the horrors of war, hunger, totalitarianism... and I am grateful.
I am grateful to God for where I live and the freedoms I all too often take for granted. I did nothing to deserve to be born here, it is only by his grace...
I am humbled by the memory of those brave young (sometimes foolish) men (boys) who volunteered to head overseas to help "The Queen". Germany had invaded Czechoslovakia and initiated a "Blitzkrieg" against Poland after some diplomatic problems. Poland and England had a treaty, instantly involving Britain in the war. Canada sent troops. It's important to remember that the U.S. didn't come into the European theater until they couldn't resist any longer. (I think the war in Europe and north Africa had gone on for 2 years before the Americans were dragged in as a result of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour) While there are always memories and photos of the liberation by U.S. troops in Holland, France, Germany, they had to walk over the bodies of the Canadians who had been there from the beginning to be the heroes.
The pride that I have no right to feel, is very strong as it relates to the sacrifice made by this rather large country with a very small population. "We" went because it was "right" to go. There was injustice a long way from home, and it had to be stopped.
We have young men and women doing that very thing now, but "we" don't seem to get it. Our country decides to get involved in Afghanistan yet the voices crying out against our troops are loud and given attention by the media.
My son lost a friend. I can't imagine the loss of his parents. Last weekend, the FreeP's front page carried the story and pictures. I start to tear up at the very notion of loosing one of my children and in return, having a lake named after them.
Why? Why did he go? Why volunteer? He started as my own son did, in Air Cadets. That's where they met. It was a good program, but my son didn't like the way they were treated. Like his old man, he's too strong an independent thinker to enjoy that sort of structure. His friend obviously fit in better, and went on to join the Forces. He, like so many countless others before him, gave his life in the service of his country, and NO ONE should EVER question the worth of that.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

I make no excuses for the source. I consider the statement true, and as such, I say "Thank you", holding back tears, because I (at least) understand, that I do not understand the loss... nor do I aspire to.

Part II

Today is an anniversary of sorts. It's the day I lost my best friend to cancer. He was pretty well known throughout the community. More people knew of him and his work than not. He worked tirelessly for the community he served. In His divine providence, my friends "Boss" decided that his work here was done. Clearly, after looking around our community, THE work isn't done, only my friends portion was completed.
I miss him. I think about him often. I can only hope...
When I consider "measuring a life", I consider the impact that life had on others. That doesn't mean that you have to have a large footprint, like my friend had... just a deep one. His was a big footprint, with a lot of depth. He made an impact. I can only aspire to impact others as deeply.

Harry. You are missed.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Signs Signs everywhere there's signs...

... except where they seem to be needed most.
I've had the good fortune of travelling all over this continent, and Europe. Generally, I've been able to find my way around, often with sub standard maps, no real grasp of the language, and sometimes just a vague idea of where it is that I'm actually trying to go.
Winnipeg to an outsider must be a shit load of frustration. Imagine driving here if you don't come from here. I think we have more street signs than any place I've ever been. No right turn on between 15:30 and 17:30 and days that end in "Y", and so on. We have STOP signs at every intersection... we suffer from a plethora of signage we get so used to we just ignore it... like the abandoned "construction ahead", and "all traffic merge left" directional signs they City seems to leave behind, tipped over at various locations, but there is a type of sign CLEARLY missing.
Directions. Simple, intuitive, clear directions. Remember how I started. "If you don't come from here".
Even if you DO come from here... what a debacle!
Head north on Osborne (Route 62) and try to find your way to Pembina (Route 42) or Corydon (Route 95). As a life long Pegger, I know how to negotiate confusion corner, but there are no signs. Sure there's one just before the underpass showing the big sweeping circular arrow indicating a 200 degree turn starting at the next intersection, but in all the work done there this past year there is no sign at the area where Corydon becomes Donald indicating you need to turn left... or even to get into the left lane to swing onto McMillan... not that any Winnipegger knows that's McMillan you turn onto with the Bachman Realty offices on your left side. I always figured that was Donald. oops.
How about the mess at the Louise Bridge while on Stadacona southbound? Imagine wanting to get to Narin, and you have a map. You're an out of towner and you're looking for either Narin or Route 37, so you head up Stadacona only to discover that you are forced into a single lane, and cannot turn left... you HAVE to go straight at this point. This is a NEW development... I didn't know, and I've driven this route many times. A sign on Stadacona indicating "Narin Ave (Route 37)" needs to turn right onto Midwinter and then left onto Levi in order to go across the intersection would certainly help... but NOT in Winnipeg. In this City we think it's better to have the drivers continue across the river, and then turn onto the first available street (Sutherland) where they'll try to turn around and get back onto Higgins to cross the bridge again, except that they CAN'T turn left onto Higgins... so they're back into their maps trying to figure out how Annabella might help them get to where they want to go.
I wonder how many people leave this City hoping to never have to come back and drive here again?
There are numerous other locations like this. Perhaps we could start a list and forward the disaster to Streets and Transportation?
Here's the deal. YOU give me up to 10 poorly signed directional areas and I'll write and forward the letter to the proper City Department. We'll see if anything gets done. We have eight to go.

CRTC complaint re: RRCC

I wrote to Graham Thompson regarding my thoughts about the cancellation of The Great Canadian Talk Show, and while I understand the need for the Board as "station owners" to have the ability to determine programming, I can't help but feel there is a lot more going on here, so I reviewed the license granted to RRCC as well as the requirements of Campus Radio Stations. The complaint looked just like this,

Regarding and Kick-FM broadcasting on 92.9 FM in Winnipeg.

Recently, the board governing the radio station mentioned above, decided to remove vital programming from it's broadcasting. In the opinion of the writer, this change hinders or extinguishes completely the ability for the station to fulfill it's required objectives.
Specifically, the required objectives of,
"13.     The Commission's primary objective for the campus radio sector is that it provide programming differing in style and substance from that provided by other elements of the broadcasting system, particularly commercial stations and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). The Commission considers that campus stations should add diversity to the broadcasting system by providing alternative programming in both music and spoken word.

14.     The Commission believes that a healthy and vibrant not-for-profit sector is essential to fulfil the goals of the Act. Campus stations play a unique and valuable role in the communities they serve. The revised policy set out below is designed to ensure that they continue to play this role."

Further more, the writer requests a review of the decisions made by some members of the Board of Directors regarding the programming in light of the requirement set out, namely,

"56.     Accordingly, under the revised policy, the Commission will expect the board of directors of a campus radio station to include balanced representation from among the student body, the associated college or university (for example, faculty or administration), station volunteers, and from the community at large. To ensure continuity of direction, the Commission also encourages campus stations to establish positions on their boards of directors with terms of more than one year."

It would appear that the recent changes at the Campus Radio Station do not have the input of the entire board, and as such, the validity of the members is called into question. If there is no "real" representation as required, the "faux board" would appear to simply exist to fulfill the requirements and as such are in fact, NOT fulfilling the stated requirement.

The commitment to volunteers as noted in the application decision,

"16. The applicant indicated that students from the college's Creative Communications Program would work at the station to fulfill the requirements of the course. However, Red River indicated that it would also be willing to involve students participating in other courses as well as volunteers from the community-at-large as volunteers at the station... Red River indicated that it would implement a delay system for any open-line programming that it broadcasts.", appears to be called into question since written statements posted on the RRCC website differ from the above noted commitment. These statements made by RRCC are found below.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010
KICK Programming
Recent decisions about programming on KICK-FM have raised questions about the station's governance and about its role in the local broadcasting market. According to its by-laws, the primary purpose of the station is to act as a training forum for students enrolled in Red River College's Creative Communications Program. The objective is to provide a setting that resembles, as nearly as possible, the operation of a commercial radio station.

In compliance with CRTC policy on campus and community radio, the station is managed by a non-profit corporation called Cre Comm Radio Inc. The Board of Directors of this corporation includes representation from the general community (including potential employers), the student body, the Creative Communications program and Red River College.

The College does support the station by providing annual financial assistance, studio facilities, transmitter and tower space, and technical assistance. However, decisions about programming are the responsibility of Cre Comm Radio Inc.

Recently, the Executive Committee of the Board of CreComm Radio Inc. made a decision to re-focus on the station’s role as an instructional resource. This means giving students more opportunity to hone their craft during primetime hours, ensuring they receive structured performance feedback, and exposing them to standards and practices that are consistent with the management of a commercial radio station.

This reorganization will include a review of all current programming, and will likely lead to several changes in the KICK-FM broadcast schedule. As an initial step, the Executive Committee has decided to stop broadcasting the Great Canadian Talk Show.

While we understand this decision might not be welcomed by the show's listeners, we do feel it's consistent with the stated purpose of the station and its future direction. Going forward, we anticipate the launch of many exciting new shows, providing new opportunities for students to gain broadcasting experience, and new voices for listeners to enjoy.

For further information about the station reorganization, please contact KICK board member Graham Thomson at 949-8377 or

As a member of the public, served by the CRTC, I feel that the changes implemented by the Executive Committee do NOT help the license holder to effectively fulfill it's stated, and required commitments, and feel that the community of Winnipeg as a whole is no longer being served in a number of ways required.

The requirements for programming that is "alternative" as well as "multicultural" and "multiracial" will be hampered, as the volunteer host of the time slot that was canceled, as well as the time slots the popular show was rebroadcast in, assisted in listeners learning about the traditions and beliefs of a minority race/religion, and assisted in bringing tolerance, acceptance, and understanding to the majority.

I sincerely hope that the CRTC will review the governance at the radio station, as well as review the decisions recently made as they relate to the community at large, the capacity for students to learn from volunteers, and the other items of concern listed above.



For whatever it's worth, I let my displeasure be heard. Perhaps you could to?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Journalistic independence... Ya right!

So I was bummed today. Yesterday, I was driving home at about 4:15, and I figured that the usual talk show I listen to on 92.9 KICK-FM, (The Great Canadian Talk Show), was simply extending the host, (Marty Gold) an extra day off. I didn't check my calendar to see if there was some Jewish Holiday, but thought that might be another possible reason.
The tall foreheads at RRCC decided to unceremoniously pull the proverbial plug on Marty's show, citing some bull shit about how they wanted to be more student focused, or some crap. Uh huh. Let's think about that for a second.
Regardless of Marty's show format, could anyone really say that the students working WITH Marty aren't learning anything? Seriously? And as for the idea of RRCC's radio station being more student focused, that's exactly what they MIGHT get... is having a greater percentage of the listeners being students BECAUSE NO ONE ELSE WILL BE LISTENING. My radio was often on 92.9 simply because that's where it was when I got out of the car/SUV/truck... I set up the antenna at home on our stereo receiver specifically to listen to 92.9... if you think for a minute I'll be tuning in any longer dear egg heads, you are sadly mistaken.
I know a lot of people who tune in. Some liked Marty's rants, his yelling at what was incredulous information that he exposed, some liked his fearless attacks on the "hoity toity" class. (Aspers et al)
Really good sirs/madams at RRCC, do you somehow think you are doing your journalism students a FAVOUR by giving more of the same old... where you seem to churn out the likes of the journalistic incompetents currently writing for the Freep?
I always figured that Marty would stay on RRCC's airwaves until some smarter radio producer figured out PEOPLE LIKE THIS GUYS STYLE.
Sure, Winnipeg has had a rough time with the avante garde style journalism offered up by the once popular TALK 1390, John Collision and Gerald Fast guys, but Marty has never crossed the line. No complaints to the CRTC... nothing... except...
Where does the RRCC get is funding from? In my small mind, I assume it comes from the Province, and that the City passes on some "perks" for the down town campus. I assume there are well connected people who donate, and well connected likely means the Manitoba Club and so on. Winnipeg is the shooting location for the upcoming movie "One degree of separation". Everybody who is somebody knows everybody else who's a somebody. THEY had to shut that guy up.
There's a Facebook Group... we have the power... but we really don't, at least not in this manner. We don't have any "pull" at RRCC. They don't give a rip how the masses think, what radio station we listen to... ALL they care about is the money.
And there you have it... my take on why. Follow the money.
Great stories that were broken... remember them as history. Good thing Woodward and Bernstein didn't report for the RRCC news paper... they wouldn't have had a chance.Nixon would still be remembered as a great President in the US. (If you have no idea, try Google)
We suffer from a terrible malady in our journalism. No one seems to want to report on matters that should INCENSE the masses. Why bother? The City, Prov or Feds don't hand out news releases on their FAILURES, so no one digs. All the "new journalists" manage to dig up are the "feel good" news releases that are spun prior to release. I don't want none o' dat!
Marty... here's hoping you get a gig somewhere where you can continue unstifled.

Monday, November 1, 2010

We're Number One!

Well, not really. Sure, Winnipeg bashing is good sport, I mean, we're an easy target.
Murder capital of Canada (again)
Slurpee capital of the World (again)
Worst traffic light synchronization (if you consider GREEN as being the colour of choice when travelling along almost any route)
Biggest pothole on a major highway (I think I lost a filling in my tooth after a humdinger of a jolt on Hwy#1 heading west between the symington overpass and Hwy 59)
Most traffic lights on an innercity beltway

What's disappointing is were we don't get noticed.

Communities in Bloom... we didn't make the list. Edmonton, that frozen blob almost as far north as Moscow but without the warm temps (yes, Moscow is warmer), they won the tidiest City award.
I guess all the "Take Pride Winnipeg" garbage cans that are often (typically) over flowing didn't grab the eye of the judges in a good way.
I have to admit, Winnipeg is dirty. I can't think of a place that is as filthy on a windy day. Rome, Berlin, Hamburg, London... only Paris has "litter" that was noticeable, (Nice has a lot of dog shit, but not litter). A city that would compare might be LA if you're down town in the Sunset Boulevard area. We'd have to go to the ghettos of a major US city to find an equal.
Why? Why do people think that driving along and tossing out their McDonald's bag, or their Slurpee or Big Gulp cup is OK?
A Day in the Hood used the correct phrase. The Broken Window Theory. The idea that people consider it more acceptable to live like pigs the longer they are surrounded by shit. While the theory has been decried, there are Cities that have tried to combat it by facing it head on. Baltimore has a method of mapping EVERYTHING that happens in their City from failed trash pickups to crime. Areas that see excess problems are targeted for extra attention. Seems easy enough.
While I don't know that I agree with the theory insofar as the condition of the neighbourhood actually leads people to commit crime, I do think that the idea that a filthy lane is discouraging enough to cause people to simply not care enough to do anything about it.
The City (as we learned from the aforementioned blog) has little ability to enforce it's by-laws when it comes to illegal dumping and litter. We have little ability to do much of anything about the Big Bite wrappers, the empty pop bottles, copies of the latest Renters News, and whatever else flies over from the Bunty's chicken half a block away but pick them up and put them in our own trash... but that is a never ending chore, left to those of us unwilling to wave the white flag.
The City NEEDS to come down harder on property owners who clearly let their yards adjacent to the lane go to hell, and the business owners whose debris fly through the area. It doesn't matter that the clients of the businesses toss the debris. Have  you seen a Sev garbage can a half a block away?
Sure, we all have seen someone toss something on the ground a few feet away from a garbage can. I've picked the litter up and yelled, "Let me get that for you." For those people, we need some STIFF fines. Again, Singapore has an extreme way of dealing with that sort of thing, but you never have to worry about getting gum stuck to the bottom of your shoe when walking in Singapore.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Omar Khdar. Who says we want him back?

I can't really say I've followed the case with any sort of diligence... I haven't.  I was somewhat aghast at the initial case, learning that some zealot would take a son and send him off to fight some war "back home". Dad should have stayed there if he wanted to be involved so badly.
What I don't get, is why Canada spent as much time as they did negotiating this "deal". Omar pleads guilty, says some nice words, gets a 40 year sentence from the jury and then an 8 year sentence as a result of his plea bargain.
I like bargains. Ask my friends, (or my wife, who is forever eating the 30% off meats from the clearance section at Safeway), and they'll tell you I know how to find a deal, but this one surpasses anything I could have pulled off. After a year (or so) at GitMo, he can apply for a transfer to his "home and native land", where the idea of justice is somewhat skewed... at a level about equal to his Dad's ideas about peaceful demonstrations.
Once here, he'll probably do two years, and get probation, telling us all who he wants to change the world through peaceful dialogue. Nice. S o let me go back to my high school math and figure out what 3/40 is. My thinking is that it ends up as a small fraction.
Just one day I'd like that kind of justice. I'd like to get a $300 fine for speeding through a "red light camera" and pay $22.50, or get clocked at 160km/hr in a 90km/hr zone but have the Officer look at the 70km over as being 5.25km and ignore me all together.
Ahh to dream... like even the interest on my credit card to go from 24% down to .42%. I'd borrow more.
I worked with an older Russian Mennonite for some time who had a way of making his thoughts known when he heard about this sort of thing. He'd bellow out in his accent,"Oh Canada!" I think those were the only words of the anthem he knew... and there are times I don't hold that against him... like now.
Here's hoping Vic Towes gets in the middle of this travesty.
What do you suppose our neighbours to the south think about this?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Election Results

I loved one of the lines in Judy's concession speech. "We've changed how things are done at City Hall, and they can never go back"
Ya, OK Judy... if you say it, it must be true, even if only in your own mind.
I also like a quote from "Anybody want a Peanut" regarding the goings on in our ward.
"To the people who voted to Harvey Smith: Come here. A little closer. A little closer. A little closer. *SLAP*
If only a few hundred had received that slap BEFORE voting. Regardless, Harvey is our councillor again... with no regard for the best before date stamped clearly on his forehead. I had no investment in CGP's campaign, so to say I'm disappointed might be a bit strong, but I think a paradigm shift in the hood may have... no, would have been a good thing.
The NDP machine. This is another story all together. What do we make of it's humiliating defeat? Can you spin it any other way? Consider the bodies they've been handed.
In our hood, the only NDP hack to get elected is Tony Ramos. The NDP split the vote in Elmwood letting a parachuter land the job. And Judy... Just Judy was told to take her hug a thug ideas, her gun registry, and her flavoured cigarillo legislation, and GO JUDY GO... AWAY.
Judy said she'd be volunteering and working in the community as an activist. I think she'll be leaving shortly, She wanted little or nothing to do with her riding while she was supposed to represent them, what makes anyone think she'll be here past December? She might get some patronage appointment to something where she really can't do any damage, but my guess is that Ottawa is as happy to get rid of her as a lot of Winnipeggers are to know that we won't have to listen to her blue sky ideas as a tax and spend mayor, happy increasing CUPE's union dues by hiring gang members to work for the City for the average 3 hour day.
Unfortunately, what we seem to be missing (still), is a visionary. We're staring another 4 years of bland leadership in the face... the same sort of leadership that has led us to where we are. A pimple on the face of the map. Saskatoon is better positioned to grow than Winnipeg is, and that's a direct result of one thing... decisiveness.
Winnipeg has had a long history of doing a study, reading it... and putting it away. We had a plan for a subway once (shelved) an inner city beltway (still not realized, and a poor facsimile of what it was supposed to look like), and real growth as opposed to the type of growth we currently enjoy, which is not the sort that "grows" a City insofar as it's economy goes.
We continue to embrace people who say things like, "Housing needs to be affordable, and we need better quality housing" who also says, "I fought urban sprawl for all my years at City Hall". I wonder if that person ever heard of the laws of supply and demand?
Winnipeg is lost. We have no real vision, and as such, we have no substantial future. Don't get me wrong, Winnipeg will still be here in 4, 8, 16, 32 years and beyond, BUT I have an idea what Winnipeg COULD be, and the Winnipeg I see in the next decade is pretty pale in comparison.

Regardless of my comments, I think every person who takes the time to run a real campaign should be lauded for their efforts. While we can sit around and wonder how the votes would have shaken out had Lito not run in our hood, it was his right to run, and peoples right to vote for him... likewise Cardoso, and all of the other candidates in all of the other ridings. While I've always laughed at people who get as many votes (or less) as Natalie Pollock, it takes a lot of chutzpa to put yourself out there.

Getting out to vote

Regardless of how people choose to exercise their right, I hope they do (did).
Voting is one of those things we take for granted. People in Iraq stood in line for hours, believing they finally had a voice. While generally I found the invasion of that country offensive, the idea that the Americans provided people with the ability to choose their own destiny was a big plus.
Countless young men, their smiling faces extinguished as a result of wars designed to TAKE AWAY the voice of the people and insert thinking of a totalitarian nature fought for our right to exercise our right to a FREE VOTE. No where is that driven home more than visiting Berlin, and witnessing the monument erected (buried) to remember the book burnings that took place during the totalitarian oppression of the Nazi's. Don't know what's there? Empty book shelves. This is the cradle of sick minded thinking that would not tolerate opposing views. I do so cherish my ability to vote, read what I want, blog if I feel like it. read the paper, (even if it is the terrible reporting of the "crack team of journalists" in the FreeP)
That brings me to an offensive story I heard today. The actual players will remain nameless, but the situation was/is real, even in todays enlightened world.
A young woman is a blog reader here. She is not really politically active, and decided to follow my advice on how to vote. To be honest, I know her fairly well, so it's not as if she picked some random blogger to follow and ask advice from. That sort of thing is akin to passing spiked kool-aid around, and we'll have none of that.
Apparently, the fact that she was going to vote for the candidates I suggested (she lives in the same ward), put her at odds with others in the house she lives in. I'd say the "home", but read on, and make your own judgment regarding how much of a "home" this is.
She was berated for NOT voting for Judy. I see no need to get into the why not. or why you should, that isn't important to the story. OK, I get a healthy disagreement about politics. What else is more divisive than possibly religion?  Apparently the young woman couldn't go vote with the rest of the people in the house because she wasn't voting the "right way". Unsure of where to go to vote, she found out where her polling station was, and walked there. The "head of the house" also wouldn't drive her to her university classes that afternoon, because she didn't vote "the right way".
You have to shake your head. I mean we have secret ballots to prevent coercion. Women have the right to vote, and DON'T need to ask their husbands who to vote for. Shouldn't the young woman be lauded for wishing to exercise her right to vote?  Frankly, she has every right to walk in there, tell the world (if she wished) who she'll vote for, tell the pollsters that she'll support their candidate, call any candidate for a ride, and vote for WHOEVER SHE WANTS.
As a man, I find it offensive that anyone would try to force a young woman (or a young man) how to cast their ballot. I find it even more offensive that this was carried out by a woman. Who better to know oppression and coercion than a woman, and then to perpetuate that offensive behaviour on anther... it's sick.
In the end, regardless of how she marked her ballot, I'm so very glad this young woman made the effort to be HERSELF and true to what SHE believed.
As far as this story goes, Sam or Judy... who cares? They're SO unimportant in this. This young woman, being true to what she chose to believe... that's freedom. That's democracy, and SHAME on you who didn't vote, for whatever lame assed reason you might have, including "I didn't like any of the candidates".
If you didn't vote, I'd like you to shut up and sit down for the next four years. YOU have nothing to complain about, and what's more, you gave away your right to complain by virtue of your apathy.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pre Election weekend antics

So the unknown shooter... was he/she trying to make an election issue of this? I've said for some time now that the North End deserves a presence. A military presence. I worked in the 'hood for a couple of years, and frankly I don't go back except to buy something fresh at Gimli Fishmarket. I've said for a number of years that things there are only going to get worse, especially since the egg heads keep building university campuses on Selkirk, training more and more downtrodden losers to be social workers.
Now before you berate me, I've seen FIRST HAND the sort of households these "future experts" run. The kids are out of control, the place is a stye, and the parent is not really very happy. I guess social work would be right up their alley. Maybe they should go and walk an alley... with an empty 11 pack, so it rattles just enough to get the attention of the hoodlums hiding in the shadows.
The police are too busy to be there 24/7, but are the army reserves? Orders to shoot any armed person on sight, the ability to detain looters (commonly called thieves), and the mere presence of any order would do the area some good.
A few weeks ago, this idea may have sounded absurd, which is why so few have heard me iterate these thoughts out loud, but how about now? Still think a strong presence in the area is a bad idea? Clearly our Chief is knee jerking. Sure NOW we have a stronger police presence there... what's that saying about the barn door and the horse?
Just Judy was the MP for that hood for YEARS and look at the mess. Is it HER fault? No, I don't think so, but neither is it Sam's. Sam's statements to Judy that she never ONCE called him about problems in the area, and how they might work together speak volumes of her ability. Shhh! Quiet!... still listening for it? Ya... you hear NOTHING, right?
Sam has his plate full too. Crime really isn't a Mayor's thing. I mean it is, yet it isn't. Judy's party watered down the YJA (Youth Justice Act) so badly it tastes a bit like camp kool aid. Blechh. So what's Sam to do? The Province (with Andy at the helm of Justice) is just as bad as the Fed NDPs. He said, (in response to a young offender missing dozens of curfews, shipping school and not complying with an order) that, "Manitobans don't want to be harsh with young offenders who miss a curfew". I wrote Andy and corrected him.
What's Sam to do? Ideas? He's not responsible for housing, yet Winnipeg spends millions on it. He's not responsible for training, yet Winnipeg spends money there too. If you had an idea about how much money was spent "training" gang members, and actually SAW how this all takes place, it'd likely make you hurl your lunch.
I've seen the foolishness first hand. I know why politicians keep talking about the "successes" of programs like "Build" and "ICR", and it's because no one actually looks into the DETAILS of these programs. No one asks questions like, "How many of the trainees have become carpenters?" or "How many of the trainees are still employed (in any field)? These programs, designed by egg heads to "give hope", don't.
I don't have the answers. There are things I know though.
I was asked by the head of NERC, "What do you think is the most important thing we can do for the people in the North End?" "Teach them to fish", I said. "Good. And how would you encourage them to learn how to fish?", he asked. "Stop giving fish away", I said.
At that comment, I was told I'm bitter, and he went on... like the drone pipe on a bagpipe...
A Mayor is responsible for the business of the City. A mayor is NOT responsible for ensuring the revolving door of justice gets closed, not responsible for workplace training or education, not responsible for health care, not responsible for housing, yet because the fires are burning with such intensity, the Mayor is forced to take up time on these matters because the PROVINCIAL NDP is fiddling while Rome burns.
Don't blame the Mayor for anything other than the business of the City... and especially the crime. It's NOT his gig. Wanna complain? Call Andy.